The Private Side Couldn’t Get Away with This

By Mark Blackney
President/CEO

There was only one topic I had to write about this month – the Affordable Care Act, aka: Obamacare. I’m not going to address the program itself. The Clovis Chamber has always opposed its premise of mandates that will have a negative effect on business and employment. We made that point clear in 2004 when we led the charge in the Central Valley to turn back California’s attempt at mandated health care.

Instead I’m going to discuss the devastating creation, promotion and roll out of Obamacare considering the process and the mindset of the people overseeing this catastrophe. Basically, the difference between a government run project versus one operated by the private side.

Based on the evidence of the past 4 years and especially the past month, we can justly conclude that Obamacare was created and sold with lies, incompetence, no accountability and I’ll even say malfeasance. Many will say, “That happens on the private side too!”. True, but the results and consequence between the public and private side are like night and day.

A private company is created with the goal to produce profits for the owner by selling products and services. It hires the best employees to accomplish the mission and pays them based on merit, competence and the market. Competition from other businesses forces it to present the best products and services it can at a price that allows it to profit and pay its employees a fair wage. It constantly does due diligence on its vendors, employees and inventory. It also has to implement the consequences to people who aren’t fulfilling the business purpose. And if its revenues fall or disaster strikes, it may have to close the doors. Its bank does not tolerate negative balances.

Contrast that model to the government. True, it’s not there to create a profit although many employees seem to do just that. Government is there to provide for the general good through legislation and services. The government has no resources. Funding comes from confiscation of revenues from a segment of citizens who work and produce. This funding is not based on quality of goods or services and can be increased through the voting process by people who don’t pay income taxes.

Government carries little accountability or faces consequences from running deficits and protects incompetent and corrupt employees. Billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse are merely written off and the perpetrators continue their employment or get re-elected.

Obamacare shines the spotlight on the failings of the government business model.

No private business would be able to receive investor or Board of Directors consent with a mere concept of a project and a promise of seeing what’s in it after it’s passed.

Since a private company would have to produce a quality product or service, it would only work with the best and brightest experts in the field. Not government. Time and again we hear of health care experts being rebuffed by the politicos in Washington. The construction of the health care exchanges wasn’t done by an expert in start-ups or with business knowledge. They were set up by a career staffer in the Medicaid office who has never implemented such a large endeavor.

Few doctors were consulted and participating insurance companies were kept in the dark to the plan’s details and regulations until after the 2012 election.

Consider the disastrous web site contractor, CGI, a Canadian firm that won the no-bid contract despite a track record of being fired by the Canadian government for incompetence. It does claim to have warned the government that the site wasn’t ready, but it’s still getting extra funding to repair the problems and has received 5 more contracts since October 1st.

This all leads to the biggest and most shameful aspect of Obamacare – the constant and repeated proclamations of lower premiums, keeping your doctor and your health plan – period. We now know that as far back as 2010, the administration and the president knew this wasn’t true, yet the specious claims continued.

And when the truth came out via millions of premium cancellations and rate hikes, the government smirked that it’s “only” 5 million people who are affected and they should be happy to pay more for better coverage. After all, they should have inferred that the president really didn’t mean “period” when he said it.

The Department of Justice has gone after many private companies for false advertising even when there is no financial ramifications and yet our government can say bald faced lies that will ruin not only people’s finances but also their health. What arrogance.

So what is it about the people who go into government management? Where does their mindset of arrogance and power at all costs come from? Many were brought up in government households with these attitudes passed through generations. Another is the lack of accountability or consequences. In the old days, fewer sources of information kept malfeasance from the public. In today’s world with the 24 hour news cycle, the public hears so much about corruption and malfeasance, real and imagined, that it’s turning a blind eye.

With no accountability or consequences like faced by the private sector, the public sector is able to continue the arrogant mindset of all knowing power and condescension that is actually the easy way out. It’s much harder to run a private business. The public side can just run roughshod over its constituents who eventually accept it as the norm. After all, they can’t go to a competitor for better service. They have to put up with what government provides.

Government believes that when it creates a mandate, the public will flaccidly accept it because “it’s the law”.

But the public is fighting back over Obamacare and the government is staggered. Incapable of being held accountable or admitting mistakes, it does what every child does – it blames someone else. Over the past month we’ve heard that it’s the contractor’s, insurance company’s and the Republicans’ fault. People complaining about their cancelled or increased premiums have been called irresponsible, free loaders and not knowing what’s good for them. The president even looked in the camera and said that he has always added the caveat that some people will lose their health coverage despite tapes showing that it was never said.

I’m hoping that Obamacare will be a wake up call to the public that has been slowly depending more on the government. Obamacare affects everyone – from those with higher and cancelled premiums to the government dependent individuals who will find they may have “coverage” but they won’t get care. Tens of thousands of doctors are retiring or opting out of treating patients because they simply can’t afford to work with Obamacare.

The harm from this power trip called Obamacare is far reaching and long lasting. Not only will access to health care be diminished but so will the economy as jobs and hours are cut and more income has to go to health care premiums.

Worst of all, if we fail to implement changes through the ballot box or pressure on our elected officials and Obamacare stands as is, the hubris and the egotism from Washington will be suffocating to us as individuals and as a country. It’s up to us to fight back. Who will join me?

Posted in Blog.

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